Sonic the Hedgehog. Perpetually popular and yet constantly the butt of all of our jokes, well at least pretty much since he started talking. The latest, and arguably biggest butt for the collective internet to make fun of this past year has been the Sonic the Hedgehog live action movie due to come out In February.
When the first trailer dropped some months back and we got a good look at what the blue blur was going to look like in the upcoming film, the internet was both aghast and rolling around in hilarity at just how utterly awful the character looked. After seeing the new trailer that just dropped, and then going back to look at the older design, I am amazed at just how horrible that old model was.
In comparison, the new one is astounding in how much more it actually looks like the character. When I heard that the team behind the movie was going to redesign Sonic after the backlash that was the original trailer back in May, I was disbelieving that they’d be able to do all that much to the character in the short span of time they had between then and February.
But low and behold, they have totally recreated the character, and I’ll be honest. I think this new Sonic looks really good. As good as a live action Sonic that isn’t lifted right from the games can look anyway. In all seriousness though, had this design been the one that they started with, I feel like this movie would have been much warmer than it ended up being.
It feels like they took some huge inspiration from the character designs of the Detective Pikachu movie, keeping things looking cute and reverent to their source material, while also allowing them to fit into the “real world” without looking too realistic, like the original design was. There is some element of conspiracy theory going around that this was all intentional and some marketing strategy to put this movie in good graces amongst the fans.
Personally, I refuse to subscribe to that train of thought. Thinking literally everything is some secret plot feels like a very unhealthy way of thinking, and while I’m sure there are some devilish marketing techniques going around, I want to take things on as much face value as I can. The time we live in right now, there is enough conspiracy crap going on that I don’t need to get my tin hat on when it comes to children’s movies too.
Does that mean I’m turned around and plan on watching this movie when it comes out in February? No, probably not. While Sonic’s design looks miles better, the premise of the movie, which gets further explored in this second trailer feels even further off the mark in terms of getting the character right.
Like many video games movies of yore, the writers take a lot of liberties with the source material in order to make it appeal to their target audience more successfully. More often than not, I feel like this is ill advised direction and ends up contributing to the stereotype that all video game movies are bad.
Based on what we see here, Sonic’s reason for coming to Earth, his personality and Dr. Robotnik’s personally all feel miles way from the established characters from the current iterations of the video games. Based on what we’re seeing here, Sonic feels more like Bugs Bunny than Sonic the Hedgehog.
Actually, now that I say that, I feel like the piece of Sonic media this movie is most referential to is the “Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog” animated show from the early to mid 90s. The one where Sonic was voiced by Jaleel White, and they were obviously drawing heavy inspiration from Loony Toons.
I’m not going to nit pick apart any other details of the trailer, like Sonic’s “power” being something that could be stolen away from him and numerous reference’s to DC’s Flash character. All I’m going to say is that this looks like a fine kid’s movie of the current kid’s movie formula, in that it’s light, fluffy and probably has more than a couple fart jokes along the way.
I give the poor animation team props for probably working hellishly long hours to overhaul this design, and I hope they’ve been paid for their trouble. It’s really too their credit that they saw the backlash on this one and actually did something about it, conspiracies aside… I still think the movie’s problems will run much deeper than just the design of the character, but I have to give credit where credit it due. He looks good again.
Who knows, maybe after a half dozen bad movies, we’ll get a great reboot like Bumblebee did.